US 3592289 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [721 inventors James 13. Aysta Stillwater; William 11. P. Tacke, St. Paul, both 01, Minn. [211 App]. No. 758,048  Filed Sept. 6, 1968 [45) Patented July 13, 1971  Assignee Conwed Corporation St. Paul, Minn.
a  FREESTANDING ACOUSTICAL SPACE DIVIDER 2 Claims, 12 Drawing Figs.  U.S. C1 181/30, 181/33,160/l35,160/231,160/351,160/381, 52/586, 52/656  Int. Cl E04b 1/86,
 FieldoiSearch ..181/30,33, 33.l2,33.1;160/13S,351,381,231,183;52/586, 656 [5 6] References Cited UN flED STATES PATENTS 2,210,652 8/1940 Dennett 160/231(R) 2,554,915 5/1951 160/381UX 2,882,564 4/1959 160/231 (R) 3,131,753 5/1964 160/231 (R) 3,234,996 2/1966 King et a1 160/231 (R) 3,282,006 11/1966 Hawsey et a1 52/475 3,297,077 1/1967 160/231 (R) 3,314,551 4/1967 160/231 (R) 3,317,227 5/1967 52/656 X 3,324,599 6/1967 52/656X 3,477,492 11/1969 160/351 X Primary Examiner- Robert S. Ward, Jr. Attorney-Gunnar A. Gustafson, Jr.
ABSTRACT: This invention relates to a freestanding acoustical space divider in which an acoustically absorptive panel is PATENIEUJULHIHH 3,592,289
SHEET 1 OF 3 20 INVENTORS JAMES E. AYSTA a WILL/AM H P TAG/(E THE/R ATTORNEY PATENIEU JUL 1 3 I971 SHEET 3 [IF 3 E K a i desired.
Such arrangements require considerable labor in assembly time and have other limitations which make it difficult to achieve the desired flexibility ofthe arrangement.
Applicants space divider is so constructed as to require only a hammer for assembly of the parts. All of the frame members are identical in cross section and the corner key used to lock the frame members together may be applied by merely hammering the same in place.
Applicants space divider also provides for ready change of the angularity between two sections and for the addition of further sections without the use of any tools whatsoever.
These and other advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following specification and drawings in which:
FIG. I shows three sections of a typical space divider of the invention,
FIG. 2 shows a single-section space divider,
FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 show three of the many ways in which a plurality of sections may be joined,
FIG. 6 shows a cross section taken along the line 3-3 of FIG.
FIG. 7 is an exploded view showing the manner of joining two frame members at a corner,
FIG. 8 is a cross section of an assembled corner,
FIG. 9 shows the manner of attachment of the leg shown in FIG. 2,
FIG. 10 is an exploded view of another variety ofleg,
FIG. II shows an enlarged cross section of the frame members, and
FIG. 12 shows a modified form of frame member.
As shown in FIG. I the space divider comprises a plurality of interconnected sections generally indicated at 10 (three sections being shown in FIG. 1). Each of the sections 10 comprises a central panel portion 12 surrounded at its periphery by frame members 32,34, 36, and 38. The frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 are all identical in cross section and differ only in their lengths. At the corners where two frame members are joined, they are locked together by means of a key 30, the details of which will be described hereinafter.
Adjacent sections 10 are coupled to each other at their adjacent vertical edges by means of a pliable plastic coupling strip generally indicated at 20. The manner in which the coupling strip couples the adjacent sections 10 to each other will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to FIG. 3. The sections 10 are supported on the floor by means of legs, such as legs 14 attached to the lower frame member 36, although different types of legs may be used if desired or required, and when a plurality of sections 10 are used, legs are not essential and the frame may be rested directly on the floor, all as more fully described hereinafter.
Since the coupling strip 20 is pliable, the sections 10 may be positioned at an angle to each other such, for example, as shown in FIG, 1. Because of the angular arrangement of the sections 10 they tend to mutually support each other.
When a single section 10 is desired standing alone or additional stability is desired for a plurality of sections 10, a different style of leg such as leg 16 shown in FIG. 2 is provided.
In FIG. 6 the cross-sectional shape of the frame members is shown with particular reference to the frame members 34 and 38. As indicated above, the frame members 32, 34,36, and 38 are identical in cross section. In FIG. 6 the vertical frame members 34 and 38 are shown as having inwardly projecting substantially parallel arms 26 and 28. These arms 26 and 28 embrace the opposite surfaces 42 and 44 of the acoustical panel 12. At the ends of the arms 26 and 28 there are slight inward projections 46 and 48 respectively which aid in gripping the panels 12.
Each of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 also have longitudinal outwardly opening grooves in each of their lateral faces. These grooves are shown in FIG. 6 particularly with reference to the frame members 34 and 38 in which the grooves 52 and 54 are shown extending along the length of each of the frame members and having generally narrower openings 56 and 66 respectively than the interior portions 62 and 64 of said grooves. This configuration provides for retaining lips 50 and 58 in the groove 52 and similar retaining lips 60 and 68 in the groove 54.
The pliable plastic coupling strip 20 is shown as including a weblike central portion 24 with enlarged longitudinal edges 22 for reception in any of the longitudinal grooves 52 or 54 of any of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38. As shown in FIG. 6 on the left-hand side a plastic strip 20 isshown with one of'its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the groove 54 of the left-hand member 34 and the other ofits enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the groove 52 of the frame member 38. On the right-hand side of FIG. 6 a similar plastic strip 20 is shown with one of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the groove 52 of the frame member 34 and the other of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the groove 54 of the adjacent frame member 38. 7
It will be seen that by the use of the pliable and flexible strip 20 the sections 10 may be moved angularly with respect to each other with the plastic strip 20 acting not only as a coupling member between adjacent sections 10 but also as a hingelike member. Accordingly, the relative positions of the adjacent sections 10 can be readily adjusted at any time such adjustment is so desired.
The cooperating arrangement between the channels 52 and 54 and the enlarged longitudinal edges 22 of the strips 20 provides for great flexibility in choice oflayout. Various alternate arrangements can be provided including those illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4, and S. In FIG. 3, for example, the frame members 34 and 38 of two adjacent sections 10 are placed with the surfaces 34 and 38 abutting and two plastic flexible strips 20 are used. As shown at the top in FIG, 3 the plastic strip 20 has one of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in one of the grooves of the frame member 34 of one section 10 and the other of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in a groove of the adjacent frame member 38 of the adjacent section 10. Similarly, at the bottom, the plastic pliable strip 20 has one of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the other of the grooves of the frame member 34 of one section 10 and the other of its enlarged longitudinal edges 22 disposed in the remaining groove of the frame member 38 of the adjacent section 10.
In FIG. 4 is shown the manner in which three sections 10 may be joined when one edge of each meets with like edges of two adjacent sections 10 at a common corner, Similarly, in FIG. 5 the manner in which four meeting sections may be joined is shown.
As best shown in FIG. 11, the walls and 58 face each other to define the narrower opening 56 of the groove 52. Similarly, the walls 61 and 63 of the lips 60 and 68 face each other to define the narrower opening 66 of the groove 54. The walls 51 and 61, however, are shorter than their facing walls 53 and 63 respectively in order to permit the pliable plastic strip 20 to lie as close to the frame member as possible and thus to avoid bulging of the strip 20 outwardly. This is of particular concern when sections 10 are placed in abutting relationship as shown in FIG. 3. Also, if the walls 51 and 61 were not shorter than the walls 53 and 63, then a wider strip 20 would be'required when two sections 10 are arranged as shown in FIG. 3. Additionally, the strip 20 would tend to be 51 and 53 0f the lips 50' cut by the corners 55 and 65 of the walls 51 and 61 respectively if the walls 51 and 61 were not so relieved or shorter than the walls 53 and 63. To further insure against cutting the web 24 of the strip 20, the corners 55 and 65 are rounded as shown in FIG. 11 For clarity and ease of drafting, the rounded corners 55 and 65 are not shown rounded in the other figures.
In FIGS. 7 and 8 the manner in which the ends of the frame members 32,34, 36, and 38 are joined to each other is shown. In FIGS. 7 and 8 only one corner joint between a top frame member 32 and a vertical frame member 38 is shown. The other corners are of identical construction. Again, each of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 is identical in cross section and each provides a channel 70 running throughout its length and opening outwardly at its ends. The coupling and locking key 30 has two right-angularly disposed legs 72 and 74 for reception into the channels 70 of the frame members, 32, 34, 36, and 38. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 the legs 72 and 74 are received into the channels 70 of the frame members 32 and 38 respectively. Each of the legs 72 and 74 of the key 30 is identi ea] in shape and dimension having a generally flat rectangular portion 76 having at itsdistal end a projection 78. At the other end of each of the legs 72 and 74 is a second projection 82 projecting in the same direction from the plane of the rectangular portion 76. Intermediate the projections 78 and 82 is a third projection 80 which projects from the rectangular portion 76 in the opposite direction from the projections 78 and 82. The dimension in thickness of the legs 72 and 74 is such that there is tight frictional engagement of the legs 72 and 74 in their respective channels 70. The distance a between the plane drawn at the top of the projections 78 and 82 and a parallel plane drawn at the top of the projection 80 is dimensioned to be slightly larger than the dimension b which is the transverse dimension of the channel 70 that receives the legs 72 and 74. In this way, the legs 72 and 74 are caused to flex slightly in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the legs 72 and 74. A difference in thickness of 0.0l between thedimensions a and b has been found satisfactory. 4
The ends of each of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 are suitably mitered as indicated, for example, at 84 in FIG. 7 thus to permit a mitered and fitted corner. lt will be seen that it is only necessary to drive one of the legs 72 or 74 of the key 30 into a channel 70 of oneof the frame members 32, 34, 36 or 38 and the other of such legs 72 or 74 into a channel 70 of an adjacent frame member 32, 34, 36, or 38 with a hammer. In this way a tight and neat corner joint will be formed. Of course, the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 are flrst placed about the corresponding edges at the periphery ofa panel 12 with their embracing arms 26 and 28 embracing the thickness of the panel 12. When then the coupling and locking keys 30 are driven into place the section is completed except for any accessories such as legs or pliable coupling members that may be required for the particular installation.
FIG. 9 shows the upper portion 90 of one of the legs 16 shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 9 the upper portion 90 of the leg 16 is shown as having two substantially parallel forwardly extending flanges 96 and 98. At the upper portion of the flanges 96 and 98 they are turned inwardly to provide flanges 92 and 94 projecting toward each other. The flanges 92 and 94 are received in the grooves 52 and 54 respectively of one of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 such as the frame member 38 shown in FIG. 9. The frame member 38 is merely slid downwardly into the top ofthe leg member 90 with the flanges 92 and 94 in engagement with the grooves 52 and 54 respectively. At the point where the flanges 92 and 94 are formed from the flanges 96 and 98 a shoulder 100 is provided which supports the frame by engagement with the end 102 of the frame member 38. The key 30, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 9, is narrower than the distance between the inner edges of the flanges 96 and 98 thus permitting it to pass freely therebetween.
Another form ofleg is shown in FIG. 10in which the leg 14 is shown as comprising a bottom foot portion 104 threaded into a nut 106 fixed in any known manner in the bottom ofa substantially square casing 108. A metal clip 110 is dimensioned with its lower end 112 smaller than the internal dimension of the casing 108. The springlike clip 110 has two upwardly extending legs 114 and 116 which extend upwardly and outwardly with respect to the bottom portion 112. The legs 114 and 116 have inwardly turned flanges 118 and 120 respectively. These confronting flanges 118 and 120 engage in the grooves 52 and 54 respectively of the lower frame member 56. When assembling the leg 14 to the frame, the confronting flanges 118 and 120 may either he slid into their respective grooves 52 and 54 from the end of the frame member 36 or, the legs 114 and 116 may be sprung apart sufflciently to permit the flanges 118 and 120 to engage the grooves 52 and 54 respectively. The metal clip 110 is then forced into the casing 108 which causes the sprung legs 114 and 116 to be forced toward each other by the upward edges 122 and 124 of the casing 108. Thus the flanges 118 and 120 are firmly held in position in their respective grooves 52 and 54. The foot 104 is provided to be threadedly engaged in the nut 106 to provide height adjustment for the leg. An opening 126 is provided in the bottom portion 112 of the metal clip 110 in order to permit free passage of the threaded portion 128 of the foot 104.
It will be seen by reference to FIG. 2 that when a freestanding single section 10 is to be used, legs of the type shown at 16 and in FIG. 9 are utilized in order to provide suitable stability. However, when a series of sections 10 are to be used in angular relationship to each other, legs such as the leg 14 shown in FIG. 10 may be provided for the sections 10, either alone or in combination with the legs 16. Additionally, if a plurality of sections 10 are to be provided in a rectilinear arrangement, then the legs such as leg 16 shown in FIG. 9 may be used either alone or in combination with the leg 14 shown in FIG. 10.
It will be obvious that the grooves 52 and 54 and the frame members 32, 34,36, and 38 may be used for other accessories in addition to the legs 14 and 16 and the flexible plastic coupling strip 20. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, magazine racks I40, lamps 142, or coat hangers 144 may be provided with a suitable flanges with enlargements suchas enlargements 22 or other means for engagement in either one or'both of the grooves 52 and 54. As shown, the rack 140 engages a groove on the opposite side of a section 10, the coat hanger 144 engages a groove on the near side of a section 10, and the lamp 142 engages both grooves.
In the sections 10 any one ofa number of constructions for the panel 12 may be used. One preferred form of construction for the panel 12 comprises a lamination of three layers as shown in FIG. 6. The layers 130, 132, and 134 are preferably wood fiber insulation board material of the type commonly used for acoustical ceiling tile. The outer surfaces 42 and 44 of the panel 12 are then punched in known manner to provide openings such as openings 136 in the fibrous board layers 130 and 132 thus to provide acoustical openings similar to those commonly provided in ceiling tile. The layers 130, 132, and 134 are laminated together to provide the basic full thickness of the panel 12. For appearance, the outer surfaces 42 and 44 may be covered with any number of materials including paint, fabric, plastic films, or other like materials. In one preferred embodiment a layer of burlap is provided on each of the surfaces 42 and 44. If the surfaces 42 and 44 are covered with materials that are impervious to sound such as layers of paper, plastic film or the like, then, in that event, the punching of the layers 130 and 132 should be performed after the lamination of such materials to the surfaces 42 and 44 in order to provide openings into the layers 130 and 132 from the outside. As shown in FIG. 6 the surfaces 42 and 44 are covered with a fabric such as linen 42 and 44 which is air permeable and as such does riot require punching after application to the surfaces 42 and 44 respectively.
In assembling the panel and the frame to form a divider section, each of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 is applied to an edge of the panel 12 with its arms 26 and 28 embracing the opposite surfaces of the panel 12. A cornerlocking key 30 is then applied at each corner. The projections 46 and 48 on the embracing arms 26 and 28 respectively project slightly into the opposite faces of the panel grip upon the panel.
Since the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 around the periphery of the panel 12 all have the same cross section and are provided with identical grooves 52 and 54, it will be seen that the panels can be arranged with any one of the frame members 32, 34, 36, or 38 at the lowermost edge. Either the leg as shown in FIG. or the leg as shown in FIG. 9 can be fitted into any one or more of the frame members to support 12 thus to insurea firm the panel with any one ofsuch frame members lowermost. Ad-
ditionally, when more than one section 10 is used, no leg need be provided at all since the sections 10 may be set at an angle to each other thus providing mutual support. Of course, when no legs are used the sections 10 must be arranged at an angle to each other in order to assure that the space divider will not topple over.
The various frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 are preferably formed from an extruded anodized aluminum which is then cut to the appropriate length and mitered at the corners as indicated at 84 to provide the requisite lengths. Similarily, the corner-coupling key 30 is formed from an anodized extruded aluminum and cut to the appropriate widths for the channels 70. The springlike clip member 110 and the casing 108 may also be formed from extruded aluminum with the nut 106 in the casing 108 suitably secured at one end of the casing 108 in any known manner. While the preferred method of manufacturing thevvarious frame members, key, and leg elements is by extrusion of aluminum it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that other means of manufacture are available.
The pliable and flexible hingelike element is preferably and extruded polyvinyl chloride material although other extrudable plastics may be used.
Preferably the separate sections are assembled in the plant and shipped as completed sections with sections being joined to each other and the accessories such as the legs being added on the site. However, since the assembly of the frame to the panel is quick and easy, it can if desired be accomplished on site as well.
Various modifications arecontemplated as falling within the scope of the appended claims including, for example, the placement of the grooves 52 and 54 in the same outer face 150 of the frame members 32, 34, 36, and 38 as shown at 52 and 54' in the frame member 32' in FIG. 11. However, the oppositely directed arrangement of the grooves as shown in FIGS. 1-10 is preferred.
l. A freestanding, readily movable space divider comprising a frame and a panel supported in said frame, said frame including a plurality of frame members, each of said frame members being elongated, each of said elongated frame members having along their length a pair of substantially parallel panelembracing arms, and said arms extending over the opposite faces of said panel, said frame members being positioned end-to-end to surround the periphery of said panel, said panel being free of any attachment to said frame other than being embraced at its periphery by said arms of said frame members, at'least one of said frame members having an outwardly opening groove along its length in each of two oppositely directed faces thereof, the openings of said grooves being narrower than the respective interior portions thereof, and at least one leg, said leg having oppositely inwardly directed flanges engaging said grooves to support said frame member.
2. A freestanding, readily movable space divider comprising a panel, a plurality of elongated frame members, means joining said frame members to each other at their ends to form a panel-supporting frame about the periphery of said panel, said joining means including an internal channel at least adjacent ends of said frame members and a key having legs extending into internal channels of two adjacent frame members to join said frame members together, said le s of said key being frictlonally engaged in their respectlve c annels, at east one of said frame members having an outwardly opening groove along its length in each of two oppositely directed faces thereof, and at least one leg, said leg having oppositely inwardly directed flanges engaging said grooves to support said frame member.